(This plant is not on the Australian Noxious Weed List)
This Living Stone is native to the Districts of Gordonia, Hay and Prieska, Northern Cape, South Africa. Each species is found in a small area of habitat that does not encroach on others. These habitats are so specialised that Lithops do not naturalize outside their chosen area.
Individual plants consist of one or more pairs of bulbous, almost fused, leaves and almost no stem. The crease between the leaves contains the growing and flowering point from which new leaves and flowers emerge. The top surface of the leaves has a translucent ‘window’ which allows sunlight to enter for photosynthesis. Leaf colour varies between shades of pale green, grey, pink or brown patterned with splashes of red. Lithops bromfieldii lives in a summer rainfall area and has a dormant period through winter when watering should be withdrawn and never given on cold days.
This genus of plants does not self-pollinate and require pollen from a neighbouring plant. After flowering, a green to pink capsule opens to disperse seeds when there is moisture on it and closes when the moisture dries.
Lithops live in a particularly harsh environment where they grow under bushes or aloes on white to greyish, brown and red quartzite. In the wild they tend to be at ground level with just the translucent ‘window’ exposed. This is a survival strategy against grazing and the fierce summer sun. In cultivation, much more of the plant ‘leaves’ are exposed.
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